Pathos as a resource

Many Flickr accounts, mine included, are currently accumulating Likes from girls with lower-case composite names (“faithgoodman,” “kaylaromero”) and identically formatted Flickr pages: every one brand new and displaying nothing but four or five unrevealing pictures of the girl (or “girl”) herself (or “herself”). Moused over to become revealing, each picture obligingly displays a text invitation on the short affective gamut from coy (“I like to wear tight underwear”) to wistful (“Will you be my sex friend?”). And the pages link to sites in, no surprise, Russia.

It’s an extractive industry — an industry whose raw material is pathos.

Several pictures of flowers on my Tumblr page have recently been Liked by somebody with a pseudonym, an egg avatar, and a small collection of pictures of adults wearing diapers.

His raw pathetic nature is open to extraction. The industry will process him, then equip him in his processed state with a hat, a gun, and an identity: Trump voter.




I feel very strongly that as governor, I need to protect the basic expectations of privacy that all individuals should be allowed to have, especially in the sanctity of a restroom.

— Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina. Colin Campbell, “Politicians seek to score points after NC nondiscrimination bill.” Miami Herald 25 March 2016.


The word means “holiness.” Ultimately it derives from the Latin verb sancio, to make inviolable.

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

— Exodus 3.5-6



Memorandum: repeating pattern


Memorandum book, Cotton Bale Medicine Company, Helena, Arkansas, 1888. Library of Congress, Photoshopped. Click to enlarge. Eleven years into the Jim Crow era, it says, “FREE TO ALL.”

Television interview with former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Face the Nation 10 May 2015.

I even tagged it #satire

— but I also tagged it #libertarian and #AynRand and #GlennBeck when I posted it to Twitter this morning. Those magic words were all it took. Two substantially identical Libertarian retweets have followed so far, each of them going out to many hundreds of followers. To be inspired likewise to buy a gun and/or an investment-quality Jeff Koons, click here.

Dwellers in the other than tropical will want to know that my kitchen light is the kind that’s accurately called a bugcatcher, and its guardian is a watchgecko. Junior citizens, the soundtrack is a TV commercial from the Eisenhower era, when haircuts like Glenn Beck’s were taken as the outward sign of inner non-communism.